How To Make The Most Of Lip Liner

How To Make The Most Of Lip Liner

Lip liner’s come a long way in recent years and the latest formulas mean it’s much easier to work with. Whether it’s improving your application technique or finding the right shade for your skin tone, make-up pros Ruby Hammer and Trish McEvoy are here to help you get the most out of it…

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Anyone Can Use Lip Liner

“They're often given a bad rap, but liners are a great tool for creating the illusion of fuller lips,” explains make-up artist Ruby Hammer MBE. “Those with thinner lips can benefit from using one too, as they give a crisper and more defined look – just like when you use a bold shade of red. They also help define your cupid’s bow and are great for adding back the volume lost around the lips as we age. Use them to enhance a bolder lip shade for extra definition.” 

Soft Textures Are Key

“Lip liner textures have come on leaps and bounds, which is what makes them such a great option these days,” adds make-up artist Trish McEvoy. “Look for ones that are soft and creamy – they will allow you to build up colour in a more seamless way, and the pigment will glide on better for a smoother finish.” Ruby agrees: “Too hard a texture is what results in that outdated look so many people fear. Now, most of the formulations are soft to medium in texture, so you can sculpt and shape, without ever over lining.”

It Can Be Used On Its Own

“We often assume liner should be used as a base for lipstick, but it can be used without any lipstick at all, and just a touch of gloss to enhance the shine,” explains Trish. “Blending your liner across your entire lip produces a more natural finish – if you do choose to apply colour on top, once your lipstick wears off, the colour of the liner underneath will come through.” Ruby adds: “Just make sure your lips are thoroughly moisturised beforehand, as lip liners can sometimes be drying.”

Application Requires Patience

“You can apply lip liner straight from the pencil, but take a light-handed approach,” says Ruby. “Move it around the natural line of your lips in feathery strokes, before blending it out with a lip brush so it doesn’t look too harsh – this technique works every time. I like to use my Ruby Hammer Magnetic Brush Set to achieve a seamless blend.” Trish adds: “If you want to establish symmetry, start at your cupid’s bow. That way you can gradually define the rest of your lips, using the side of your liner to shape and trace your natural lip line.” 

Shade Matching Is Simple

“If you’re going for that ‘no make-up make-up’ look, always use a liner that matches your natural lip tone as much as possible,” advises Trish. “For something a bit more dramatic, use a shade closer to the lipstick you plan to use – this will ensure a seamless blend every single time. Ruby agrees: “Finding tones that suit you is quite simple and everyone should have their own version of a nude lip pencil. My favourites are Charlotte Tilbury’s Pillow Talk liners, which now come in Medium and Intense. Darker skin tones need darker shades – MAC has some brilliant ones – try Chestnut or Cork. It’s also worth investing in a colourless one, too. Christian Dior’s Universal Contour 001 is great to use before a gloss and will make any shade of colour applied afterwards really pop.” 

Finally, There Are No Rules

“Aside from priming the lips (try something like Summer Fridays Lip Butter Balm) there are no set rules when it comes to liner,” says Ruby. “Apply lip liner before any lipstick or gloss, or even afterwards – the choice is yours. Adding it gently after your lipstick can sometimes be more beneficial, as it helps to diffuse the hard lines around the edges, but also ensures the colour lasts. Using it after lipstick also allows you to alter the shape without it looking too obvious. Either way, don’t be afraid. It’s much easier than you think.”


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